Edouard Philippe, tests and the persistent French delay

Edouard Philippe, tests and the persistent French delay

© Copyright 2020, L’Obs

Test, test, test ” By hammering this verb this Sunday April 19, during his televised intervention, the Minister of Health Olivier Veran seemed to want to ward off one of the criticisms often addressed to the government since the beginning of the pandemic: the French delay in screening.

In fact, as we know, unlike our German neighbors who quickly put themselves in a position to massively test the citizens (on January 28, the first infected German was identified), the French authorities, failing to have anticipated the extent of the health crisis, procrastinated and took time to build up test stocks. And the number of infections has increased.

This original sin, the government continues to drag it like a ball. And in fact, it was one of the big questions of this Sunday intervention, where in addition to Olivier Veran, Edouard Philippe spoke.

Coronavirus: France still tests as little

In battle order

The Prime Minister thus spoke of ” massive tests “Who will accompany the French in the process of deconfinement, from May 11. But “massive”, will these tests be that much? In any case, not as much as those practiced in some countries which have quickly put themselves in battle order, such as Iceland. In eight weeks, from January 31 to March 31, the Nordic island has indeed tested 10% of its population and, in fact, drastically limited contamination.

Massive coronavirus screening: the Icelandic exampleCertainly, Iceland is the best student in the world in screening per capita. To match it, France should test 5 million people, or 10% of 50 million French people (67 million of the total population, less the 17 million people identified as fragile, and who will therefore have to remain confined) in eight weeks .

But even with ” 500,000 tests per week »Promised by Olivier Veran, this will not be enough to stay in the nails. It will indeed take ten weeks at best for France to reach 10%.

Not miraculous tests

On May 11, how will the screenings take place? Not all infected will be tested, far from it. By targeting the French ” who have symptoms “And those who have been in” proven contact “With them, a strategy already outlined by Emmanuel Macron on Monday April 13 (” We are not going to test all French people, it would make no sense. ”), The government takes the risk of hospitals becoming overcrowded.

Coronavirus: why the government will not test all French people

Indeed, many patients with no symptoms (the asymptomatic) will fall through the cracks. And these are likely to be numerous after May 11, since children are called to return to class – but, as Professor Florence Ader reminded at this same press conference, children relatively rarely show symptoms . Many people who circulate a virus, it is obviously the risk of causing a large number of hospitalizations again.

Another major uncertainty: tracing digital technology of people who have been in contact with a patient be technologically efficient? Indeed, as specialists in The Observations revealed, for the moment, the applications that could be used have shown limits.

“Trace” to heal better? The warning of Jean Tirole

In short, for want of having taken the root cause, the government continues to juggle with solutions which all present risks. The burden of latecomers, in short.


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